In this era of smart, connected everything, we think helicopters should be smarter. Our mission is to give these critical machines the ability to tell you the health and status of all key components, including gears, shafts, and bearings. Foresight provides optimized and automated RTB solutions, flight data and exceedance monitoring, and predictive diagnostic component monitoring. These capabilities combine to enable greater operational readiness, more optimized maintenance practices, and enhanced safety.
Foresight offers three core pieces of functionality.
Engine health monitoring and component vibration monitoring
Flight data monitoring with exceedances
Optimized rotor track and balance functionality
To support the above, the system has baked in optimal RTB solutions and Remaining Useful Life Estimates on drivetrain components.
We monitor the health of all critical mechanical systems, including most internal/external shafts, gear, bearings, couplings and splines. While each aircraft differs below you can see an example dashboard.
Many HUMS systems still on the market today were developed over a decade ago. Foresight takes advantages of advances in sensor technology, edge processing, cloud architecture, connectivity, user interface design, and predictive analytics to deliver a next generation product.
While we focus on the advantages of our system rather than the features and specs of other systems, we'd encourage you to ask 9 questions if you are considering a Health and Usage Monitoring System:
Usability - can your team use the system or does it require outside/specialized interpretation?
Full Functionality - does it offer Rotor Track & Balance, FDM/Exceedance monitoring, and engine performance in addition to mechanical system monitoring?
Availability - does the system provide software access from anywhere via browser/cloud architecture or does it require a specific aircraft-to-PC connection in order to be usable? (This is critical for remote monitoring of forward aircraft.)
Prognostics - does it provide a true predictive model (including component RUL) allowing you to optimize assets and better plan maintenance windows?
Specificity - will it tell you an issue is developing with the Accessory Drive or tell you the status of the Hydraulic Pump inside? On bearings, can it identify the difference between an inner and outer race fault?
Data Transfer -is data captured on the aircraft moved automatically to the user interface or does it require manually offloading it?
Updates - does the system have update-over-the-air functionality that insures bugs will be fixed and improvements made?
Weight - how much does the onboard system (including all mounting hardware and cabling) weigh?
Installation Time - how long does the system take to install?
Validation: Does the system allow validation of fault by viewing the raw signal processing waveforms/component details?
Certifications - is the system STC certified and can the provider show you the certificates?
We've specifically designed Foresight to have an intuitive, modern user-interface that allows maintainers, flight operations teams, and safety officers to access and use the system without the help of outside experts or specialized talent. While GPMS technical support stands by ready to help, typicaly teams are up and running the day the system is installed.
Foresight is a flexible, modular system that can be adapted to any rotorcraft, traditional helicopters, electric VTOLs, and large UAV/drones. That said, in most instances FAA Supplemental Type Certificates are required.
See our STC roadmap here.
Foresight enables predictive maintenance but does not replace OEM required scheduled maintenance and allow an operator to move to an 'on condition' footing. The system allows operators to get ahead of particular maintenance issues that are typically dealt with reactively. Referencing the diagram below, GPMS enables operators to move up the maintenance maturity curve away from Reactive Maintenance (orange) toward a combination of Planned Maintenance (light green) and Predictive Maintenance (dark green).
Yes. Onboard firmware and software is fully updateable as a result of our cloud-based architecture and wireless/automated aircraft-to-cloud connectivity. And of course our cloud-based software can be updated and improved at any time.
Assuming we have a STC for your aircraft, our constraints are (a) specific kit availability and (b) installation support availability. Customers will need to have the aircraft available for installation as well. Assuming all these factors line up, turnaround can be under a month.
Onboard System and Certifications
We evaluate the gearbox design, and choose locations that: a) will give a transfer function from the component to the sensor and b) allow ease of installation. Generally speaking, the locations are on bearing supports where there are easily accessible mounting studs/bolts. We designed an integrated bracket to easily replace existing washers.
Does the customer need to modify the aircraft Flight Control systems for flight data information? If not, how does Foresight acquire it?
Foresight was designed to minimize interfaces into the rest of the aircraft. It has an on-board GPS and INU so it can track the movement of the aircraft. We do have both an analog and ARINC429 interface to gather some aircraft data, but that does not require any modifications to the flight control systems/software etc. We can also tie into the existing antenna for GPS or add an antenna.
Yes. We have both an analog and ARINC429 interface to gather aircraft data
For the Bell 429, there is an indicator light for power, bit and xmit. This indicator can be added to other platforms (Bell 407, AS350) as a deviation. For aircraft with ARINC429 output, CAS messages can be downloaded. Alternatively, if there are available discrete input available, Foresight can drive a CAS message.
Foresight typically takes drivetrain acquisition every 2 to 3 minutes, and collects parameter data at 8 Hz, thus making a event marker not required. Foresight MX has a maintenance mode, typically used for commanding RTB acquisitions, which can be used to mark events if operator requires this functionality.
Foresight's onboard system weights far less than legacy HUMS products making the system accessible on even light/single engine aircraft. For example, the Weight and Balance on the Bell 407 system is less than 9 lbs / 4 kg. (Please see Supported Platform pages for weight specifications per platform.) We achieve weight savings through advanced sensor technology, a weight-minimized Onboard Control Unit, and a bused (vs star) connectivity architecture to dramatically reduce cabling.
The On-Board Control Unit has 32 GB of storage allowing it to store a lot of operation data in the event that data download is not available at the end of the operation. This capacity should provide up to 2,000 hours of flight data.
Our largest box (the onboard control unit, or OBCU) is 7 x 4 x 1 inches, while the tachometer interfaces (usually three are installed) are 1 x 1 x 3. Therefore, there are many options for installation locations even in really tight aircraft. In terms of storage, we look for a convenient location that does not interfere with existing maintenance or equipment. The OBCU is IP 67 rated, so can be installed in non-traditional locations (for instance, the Bell 206 installation has it outside the aircraft on the top deck).
The system has self-checking built in and there is no need for calibration. The hardware design really eliminates maintenance requirements. The system does have a coin battery to speed startup by maintaining time on the box. It has a very long life and is replaceable on condition.
See current STCs and Certification Roadmap here.
If you don't see your aircraft, contact us to discuss timeline and commitments we would need to move forward. If we’re doing a new helicopter platform this typically requires two visits – one for three days, where we need access to the aircraft and then one for installation, which would typically take two weeks. The lead time depends on our current certification schedule when the customer is ready to move forward. A certification process typically will take 4 months.
Foresight hardware has been designed to DAL E. The software not certified as it is intended as a tool for maintainers so is not critical to the safety of flight. It is also not used to replace normal maintenance schedules and requirements. It provides greater insight and visibility into the operations of the aircraft.
Data Transfer, Connectivity and Infrastructure
Typically, there is some configuration required for wireless connectivity from the Foresight Onboard Control Unit to the customer WiFi access point. Firewall permissions may need to be adjusted. We also connect via cellular to provide redundancy.
What portable equipment, ground station equipment, or servers are required for the Foresight system?
While operators are able to take data off the aircraft via wired ethernet connection to a laptop, most users utilized automated data transfer from the aircraft to the Cloud via WiFi or Cellular.
The Foresight MX application is accessed through any browser enabled device (laptop, tablet, cell phone). There are no specific ground equipment (computer hardware) requirements.
Lastly, because the application is hosted in the cloud, no server hardware is required.
Foresight uses the Amazon Web Service IoT cloud platform. Where needed, we can also host the application in the AWS government cloud.
How does Foresight accommodate forward deployments without connectivity to the cloud via WiFi or cellular?
Where needed, Foresight can be configured to be used on a local dedicated laptop.
Typically, Foresight uses a cloud-based infrastructure. As such, data stored in the Onboard Control Unit is downloaded/uploaded when the aircraft is in cooldown mode. When the aircraft is back from a mission and Foresight detects the power down sequence, it automatically turns on the WiFi or cellular connection and off-loads the data (typically in 2 min) to the cloud. No human action is required. That mission’s data is then available in the Foresight software application. If necessary, the system can also be configured for manual download, where connectivity is unavailable or undesirable.
System Functionality and Alerts
Foresight’s regime recognition capability automatically captures data whenever during normal operations the aircraft is in an appropriate regime to do so. The system averages 30 RTB acquisitions per hour normally, but operators can also enter an RTB maintenance mode to collect approximately 4 acquisitions per minute if they want to do so manually. Once the operation is complete and data is off-loaded, you then select your Rotor System (Main/Tail/Twin/Contra) and RTB Activity (Rotor Vibration or Rotor Track) and Foresight provides an optimized solution for the RTB adjustment. You can review Foresight’s RTB adjustment solution, the accept the best for your operations. The system allows the maintainer to store RTB moves for and view/compare pre/post move vibration. Operators who make this adjustment report minimal need for traditional maintenance flights.
Foresight automatically alerts on the Chapter 1 exceedances specified by the OEM. The system is easily configurable and we have operators who have added custom exceedances based on their own safety policies.
Foresight generates a notification once a specific threshold is reached or an exceedance has occurred. These notifications can appear in the application itself when logged in, but can also be automatically delivered via email or text message. Push notifications can be sent to any number of people you designate. You can configure push notifications in the Account Management panel.
If you already have an FDM system, that's great. We think FDM represents a great first step in the process of creating a smarter, safer fleet. We even integrate with some FDM/Comms systems to enable more real-time connectivity.
Depending on your system (simple flight following vs multi-parameter tracking), Foresight may offer additional FDM functionality as we track flights along 33 different parameters and capture Chapter 1 and operator defined exceedances to ensure safe operations.
If your FDM already enables multiparameter and exceedance tracking, Foresight adds value through its automated Rotor Track and Balance function as well its Predictive Health Monitoring of engines and mechanical components.
Flight manuals call for Engine Power checks. We automate that process and return the margin, based on the inflight check procedure. There is no need for you to record the data for post flight analysis, as we capture it and trend it automatically. Additionally, we use vibration sensors to capture the mechanical systems around the engine. In that sense, we complement any "gas path" analysis being done by the engine OEM.
Yes. For aircraft such as the AS350 (Arriel 2B engine), Cycle counting has been implemented and is download at the end of the operation.
Integrations and Exporting
It can! We have APIs to bring "the voice of the aircraft" into maintenance and SMS software applications.
Yes. Foresight collects raw data for analysis on a periodic basis. The frequency can be configured. It is exportable for different analysis, as desired. For instance, FDM information is exportable to X-Plane.
Prognostics and Algorithms
For shafts: SO1 Mag/Phase, SO2 Mag/Phase, SO3 Mag/Phase, TSA RMS, TSP Peak to Peak, Inches per sec (SO1), and regime
For bearings: cage, ball, inner and outer race energy, shaft order 1 energy, whip/whirl, average envelope energy, and temperature.
For gears: residual RMS, residual kurtosis, residual crest factor, energy ratio, energy operator kurtosis/crest factor, FM0, Sideband modulation factor, G2 analysis, narrow band analysis kurtosis/crest factor, amplitude modulation RMS/kurtosis, frequency modulation RMS/kurtosis, and gear mesh energy.
Will there be a baseline vibration level that will be determined and then the thresholds set based on the baseline? If so, how will the initial baseline be determined and how much data would be required?
Foresight does not require a “learning” period. Our threshold setting process is based upon the physics of rotating equipment and when a component is no longer good. We do not model or predict when a component will fail. This is an important nuance difference. We are providing guidance about when maintenance is indicated to avoid collateral damage etc. Typically our system is able to diagnose problems within a few flight hours after installation.
How are the thresholds determined and based on what? We have a process of threshold setting based on calculating the covariance of nominal data, which can be done in a few flight hours.
Foresight uses its advanced algorithms to identify faults at a very early stage. It then monitors those faults over time and watches the rates of propagation. We also have a state observer built in, which refines the confidence of the remaining useful life estimate over time as it watches the fault propagation. When the model has a high confidence, it reports the estimate of remaining useful life, typically with 100 hours +/- before maintenance is indicated to allow for logistics planning. However, maintainers can watch the faults long before that alert is triggered to be aware of the building issues on the platform.
Note that our Remaining Useful Life estimates calculate when the part will no longer be good not necessarily when it will fail. This is an important algorithmic nuance. Our approach allows us quickly assess component health without the need for big data for model training.
Foresight was designed with secure communications in mind. The on-board equipment does not accept in-bound queries from any devices. All communications on the aircraft are controlled from the aircraft’s Onboard Control Unit. It determines when to seek to offload data and initiates a 256-bit encrypted connection to exchange keys with the intended Foresight Cloud. Only after the secure handshake or multi-point authentication has been confirmed, will the on-board data be offloaded. For those rare use cases where even higher security is desirable or required, we have additional methodologies to deploy. Contact us to learn more.
Installation and Support
On average, installation takes 120 hours on a light/medium single engine aircraft. An initial installation by mechanics unfamiliar with the Foresight system may take additional time.
Foresight's onboard system consists of sensors, an onboard control unit (OBCU), and other hardware components. Installers follow the aircraft-specific STC drawings and installation instructions. The Foresight kit can be installed by any qualified A&P mechanic. GPMS will provide onsite guidance to operators and MROs who have not installed the system before and review the final configuration for proper fit and function. The typical first installation takes 80 hours. After the first installation that your team does, they will see efficiencies for subsequent installations.
After the onboard system is installed, GPMS can provide training with your team so that you can fully utilize the system. Thereafter, we've designed the software to enable self-service without the need for outside experts (including those at GPMS). The user interface provides extensive guidance to the users to support their decision making. That said, if there are questions about the user interface or understanding the data, we are available. Given that this is a maintenance support tool, not one that is critical to the safety of flight, we are available during business hours. Our system typically provides +/-100 hrs of advance notice, so the issues do not require a 24/7/365 call center.
Yes, the system can be removed without effect to airframe health or function and is even easier to remove than it is to install.
We do! We partner with a number of leading MROs and train these facilities on the proper installation of our onboard system.
Pricing and Data Ownership
Yes, we have a small, medium, large, and extra-large aircraft pricing schedule. We develop pricing based on anticipated ROI which varies across aircraft size/type.
Foresight MX uses an annual Software-as-a-Service model together with an upfront, one-time fee for the onboard hardware kit. To get a personalized quote, as well as an ROI analysis based on your fleet, please contact us.
Under the terms of our Services Agreement, our customers own their own user-generated data and grants us a license to it for GPMS applicable business purposes. Customers can also elect to share access to the data internally or with any of their service partners.